Meet a den leader’s new best friends: denners and den chiefs

denchiefBeing a den leader is one of the most rewarding roles in Scouting. It can also be among the most challenging, given the energy level of the average Cub Scout. Making the job a bit easier are the tasks of the denner, assistant denner and den chief.

What are the denner and assistant denner?

Cub Scouts or Webelos Scouts who help their den leader with assigned tasks, like setting up the meeting room or leading a game. They are elected by their peers. The responsibilities typically rotate every month or two so all boys have a chance to serve.

How are the denner and assistant denner recognized?

While serving, they wear cords on their left shoulders. The denner cord (No. 368) has two yellow strands; the assistant denner cord
(No. 385) has a single strand.

What is a den chief?

A Boy Scout or Venturer who supports a Cub Scout or Webelos Scout den leader. Scoutmasters and senior patrol leaders appoint Boy Scout den chiefs, while Advisors and crew presidents appoint Venturer den chiefs. Serving as a den chief satisfies the leadership requirements for the Star, Life and Eagle ranks in Boy Scouting, and the Pathfinder and Summit awards in Venturing.

What does a den chief do?

He or she attends den meetings, assists with activities like games and ceremonies, helps boys learn to be leaders, serves as a positive role model and encourages the boys to move to the next level of Scouting. The den leader and the den chief should work out other responsibilities.

What does a den chief wear?

He or she wears the den chief emblem (No. 387), as well as either the den chief shoulder cord (No. 388) or Webelos den chief shoulder cord (No. 457, pictured). The braid is worn over the left uniform sleeve under the epaulet.

Are there any age or rank requirements to be a den chief?

No, but den chiefs are typically more effective when they’re at least a few years older than the boys they’re working with. It’s also a good idea if Boy Scouts are at least First Class rank.

What training is available?

Many local councils offer in-person training, often as part of a University of Scouting program. Complete a 30-minute online training module here.

What recognition is available for den chiefs?

In addition to advancement credit, den chiefs can pursue the Den Chief Service Award. The 11 requirements include serving for a full year, completing training, setting a good example, and performing projects such as helping three Webelos Scouts join a troop and recommending another Scout to be a den chief. See the Den Chief Handbook (No. 33211B) for detailed requirements. The award is represented by a red, white and blue shoulder cord (No. 389).


  1. I don’t understand the title of this story “a Den Leader’s NEW best friend”? The original Den Leader was a Den Chief, a Scout from a local troop. Den Chiefs and Denners are nothing new, I was a Denner in the 1960’s and a Den Chief a few years later. This title only shows the writer missed something in training or in their Den Leader manual.

  2. My pack has used Den Chiefs for years (we currently have 5, from four different troops, with one in each den).

    In addition to the BSA training, we run an orientation session for them.

    We explain all the different expectations, but that the most important ones are aspirational: “my Cub Scout can be like him in a few years!”

    It’s been a great program for our pack and helped several troops with recruiting.

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